Trillanes: Duterte weakened PH’s position on South China Sea
President Rodrigo Duterte has “weakened” the Philippines’ position on the South China Sea when he did not raise the country’s “legal victory” over China during the just concluded Asean summit in Manila, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said on Monday.
In July last year, the United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal ruled that the Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea (in the South China Sea).
But Duterte, in a statement issued as chair of this year’s Asean summit held in Manila Saturday, made no direct mention of the tribunal ruling.
Asked if he was satisfied by the President’s statement, Trillanes said: “Definitely not.”
“Pinahina ni President Duterte ‘yung position ng ating bansa in relation dun sa arbitral tribunal ruling,” the senator said in an interview at Camp Crame in Quezon, City.
(President Duterte weakened the country’s position in relation to the arbitral tribunal ruling.)
“Doon sana, nung ganung forum, ideal sana na namention niya ‘yun. Kahit na-mention man lang para at least hindi inignore or parang naisantabi totally ‘yung legal victory natin. So it weakened our position,” added Trillanes, vocal critic of Duterte.
(Asean is an ideal forum for him to mention this. Even just a mention from him so that at least our legal victory won’t totally be ignored. It weakened our position.)
The senator, along with three colleagues in the minority group in the Senate – Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros — visited Senator Leila de Lima at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.
De Lima has been charged and detained for alleged drug links when she was still justice secretary. JE/rga
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